Art ~ Writing ~ Life

From Handprints To Footprints

Months of Seasons

August 19, 2015
Steve Campbell

I looked at the wall calendar to see today’s date and saw how close we are to the end of another month. It seems like August began last week instead of three weeks ago. And it seems like June was a month ago instead of two. Time seems to fly past us unnoticed when we pay least attention to it.

Although August is one of our longest months, I had a schoolteacher who called it the February of summer. She divided the calendar in half and placed the first six months in a horizontal line across a wall, then placed the last six below them so there were two rows of months on the wall. The first row held winter and spring; the second held summer and autumn. This way, we students could compare and contrast the seasons.

Calendar

Using her illustration, the top row held dominance over the bottom row. July was the January of summer, August the February of summer, etc., on to ending with December as the June of autumn. It seemed strange referring to December as a part of autumn, but that’s the way she taught. After all, the winter solstice is usually December 21/22, which makes the shortest day of the year for us in the north hemisphere the beginning of our winter. The days before that and after summer are autumn.

By comparing December with June, she told us that both months were times best spent with families. She compared and contrasted the beginning of our summer vacation away from school in June with our winter and Christmas vacations in December. Of course, we argued that our winter vacation should include January and February to correlate with our July and August vacations, but she reminded us the importance of going to school. Still, after all the many years that have passed since her lesson, I look forward to being with family every June as much as I do every December. Whereas June is for doing things together outdoors, December is a time to do things together indoors.

Continuing with my teacher’s chart of seasons and the philosophy behind them, January is a time of long nights—a great time for snuggling with mom and/or dad and reading an epic book aloud; July is a time of long days—perfect for outdoor activities when it isn’t raining. February is the shortest and coldest month—another good month for snuggling with loved ones; August is long and often hot—the best time for swimming. March is the end of winter—a sad time for children (young and old) who love the snow; September is the end of summer—a sad time for children who don’t like school. I would like to add that this was also a sad time for my mom who enjoyed having us kids home. Mom loved spending time with children, which made her a great mom to my brothers and me, and a favorite aunt to my cousins. To counter the sadness of those two months, I have added that March is a time when warmth returns to the north, and September is that time when the days and nights are not too hot or cold. For two of my brothers, September is the start of football season and a time for yelling at the television. Speaking of TV, September is the start of new episodes for my anxious wife, children and grandchildren. For me, I like it that the baseball teams are in spring training during March (baseball is my favorite sport), and that many of my favorite authors release their new books in September.

Continuing with my teacher’s map, April is the dawn of spring and its promise of colorful flowers—a type of birth; October is the end of harvest—a type of death, but with the promise of good things to come from the ripeness of our harvest. May is a month of bountiful flowers—a time of color and beauty; November is a month to share our bounty with others—another time of color and beauty together. And, as I said earlier, June and December are good months to spend with our families.

So, no matter what time of the year, I look forward to the seasons that lie in store.

The Coming of Autumn

September 2, 2012
Steve Campbell

It finally rained after threatening for days to do so. I stood beneath the storm clouds like I did when I was a child, “chilling” to heaven-sent refreshments. I gave kids on buses coming from school something to ponder, I’m sure, as I caught raindrops on my tongue and smelled a familiar change in the air.

Like all seasons, autumn has its distinct aroma. Grass smells sweeter, or maybe it’s the wildflowers I smell. Or maybe it’s a combination of that and the fruits and vegetables ripening around me. Whatever it is, it’s the exterior over a sweet and sour back-to-school anxiousness of schools in Corry back in session after a three-month hiatus; over beautiful high spectrum colors of flora sporting the blush of their third quarter dress; over tailgate giddiness as football jerseys become popular human wear again. It’s the smell mingling with cotton candy, candied apples and popcorn at the fairs; hotdogs and soda at baseball and football games; steaks and burgers at Labor Day picnics.

Autumn smells sweet to many. But autumn is also the smell mingling among the billion allergens running rampant for Mother Nature’s seasonal linebackers and their knock-down blows to noses and eyes of young and old.

Yes, the coming of autumn is a bitter sweetness for me amidst crying, sneezing and weeping, peering out at life from eyes swollen shut, gasping for oxygen because my body’s defenses glued shut my sinuses, and wishing I could run naked when it rains because I want to believe that it may be a yesteryear elixir that OTC pharmaceutical serums are not to the itching hives that have erupted on my skin.

Meanwhile, I’m blinded by the weakest light. That is why I have changed my blog site to a darker setting. I read and write less, too, and find watching television almost impossible. So, like the crazy person I am, I go outdoors on stormy days to catch raindrops on my tongue, my eyes, my face and body, and “chill” to the rain’s temporary but deliciously sweet release to the coming of autumn, all the while calling for an early winter to blanket this pox that plagues me to my very soul.

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